By Jacob Govero
Branson, Mo. — When you start out triple, double, triple on the first three holes finishing on top isn’t usually the result. Tristan Crow of Strafford wouldn’t let that stop him. He settled down amid adverse conditions and grabbed the Class 2 District 3 golf title held at Holiday Hills Golf Course in Branson.
Crow’s final card read 82 after his dismal start.
“Eight over to start would kill any golfer, but I settled down, coach gave me some encouragement and gave me the confidence to overcome my start,” said Crow.
A birdie on the Par 5 No. 9 hole helped propel him to a strong back nine.
“I knocked in a 15-foot putt and that really started to help me build some confidence, the back nine is how I really should play,” Crow said.
Battling the worst of conditions for most of the day it was tough for all the competitors. The temperature was in the mid-40s, it was incredibly windy, and to make it worse there was a chilling drizzle coming down. Not the ideal start for a May 1 district tournament.
Teammate Taylor Stone, whose score of 83 was good for second place, also performed well in the adverse setting.
“The first nine holes were really rough, the wind and the rain made it pretty tough out there, things seemed to calm a little bit at the turn, but I was able to start off pretty well and keep big scores off of my card,” Stone said.
Those two scores helped guide Strafford to a final team tally of 371. It was a score good enough for first place. However, the same score was achieved by Fair Grove, who was led by Shain Lahey and his 88. With the score knotted at 371 it went to a tie-break. Fair Grove won the tie-break and was crowned district champions.
It was a program first for Fair Grove. Coach Bryan Tucker was extremely proud of his young team.
“This was a historic win for our program. We started golf back in ’06 and this is our first district championship,” Tucker said, “We won two tournaments this year, our first wins since 2010, and we had four guys in the top 15 today. All year our scores have been strong. Today was pretty typical.”
Fair Grove was led by Lahey’s 88, Gavin Peterie 92, Thomas Bruemmer 94, Carter Crews 97, and Jayden Kensiner 105.
The top two teams advance to next week’s sectional at Marshfield. That means even though they lost out on the championship, Strafford as a team will advance to the next round at Marshfield.
Strafford coach Mark Call says his team is ready for the next step.
“We are a young team with Tristan as our only senior but we might have a little advantage with the sectional tournament on our home course,” Call added. “It was tough to eat this loss since we haven’t beaten these guys (Fair Grove) yet this year, but we will learn from this and move on to sectionals.”
Strafford was paced by district champion Crow and his 82, followed by Stone’s 83, Bryce Campbell 96, Nickolas Losh 110, and Cade Rear 126.
FINAL TEAM SCORES (TOP 2 ADVANCE TO SECTIONALS)
T1. FAIR GROVE 371 (DISTRICT CHAMPION)
T1. STRAFFORD 371
3. MT. VERNON 383
4. ASH GROVE 428
5. CLEVER 433
6. SARCOXIE 439
7. DIAMOND 467
8. FORSYTH 490
9. SPOKANE 567
10. SENECA 212
11. CONWAY 294
TOP 15 INDIVIDUALS (ADVANCE TO SECTIONALS)
1. Tristan Crow, Strafford, 82 (DISTRICT CHAMPION)
2. Taylor Stone, Strafford, 83
3. Josh Tebow, Mt. Vernon, 86
4. Shain Lahey, Fair Grove, 88
5. Gavin Peterie, Fair Grove, 92
6. Matt Sommer, Sarcoxie, 93
T7. Cody Delcour, Conway, 94
T7. Thomas Bruemmer, Fair Grove 94
T9. Bryce Sprague, Diamond, 95
T9. Mathew Keller, Ash Grove, 95
T9. Jason Cochran, Clever, 95
12. Bryce Campbell, Strafford, 96
T13. Ryan Cota, Mt. Vernon, 97
T13. Carter Crews, 97
15. Reuben Randolph, Mt. Vernon, 98